It doesn’t need to be reiterated any further, but the New York Yankees need their pitching depth to provide ample support for Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon.
If it fails to do so, then there’s a good chance the Bombers could fall short once again in October. But there’s no need to worry about that until it’s absolutely necessary.
Then again, as for our first look at a portion of the team’s pitching depth in the Yanks’ spring training debut on Sunday, it didn’t instill much confidence.
Michael King started off the game and was relieved by Asher Wojciechowski, Kyle Barraclough, Adam Warren, Lucas Luetge and Nick Goody — the latter five of whom were brought in on minor-league deals.
And everyone gave up a run except for Warren and Luetge. Though King should’ve gotten out of the first inning if not for Aaron Judge dropping that fly ball on the run, he didn’t exactly help his case after that.
In just two innings, he allowed three earned runs on three hits and two walks. Just one strikeout, too.
Michael King got knocked around in his spring debut for the Yankees.
Call us crazy, but was anything different with King? The right-hander talked about further developing a third pitch (his changeup) to add to his arsenal, in addition to improving upon his sinker, which is his go-to. According to Baseball Savant, he threw that 59.4% of the time in 2020, compared to 19.6% for his curve, 14.9% for his changeup and just 6.2% for his four-seamer.
Perhaps we’ll see more as the spring progresses, but Sunday showed us nothing.
Then came former Oriole Asher Wojciechowski, who isn’t expected to make the roster, but seems like a guy who could be stashed at Triple-A and be brought up in the event the Yankees need an extra arm or somebody to spot start.
But in one inning of work, he allowed one earned run on three hits. Though he fanned two, it wasn’t exactly impressive.
Then, perhaps the two most intriguing non-roster invites on the pitching side — Barraclough and Goody — came in. They both allowed an earned run. Barraclough gave up one hit and a walk and struck out two while Goody allowed a homer (his only hit surrendered) and struck out zero.
It’s far from the end of the world, but it’s not an ideal start for these guys who are trying to make an impression this spring.
But hey, Yankees fans love a little Adam Warren action! He struck out two in a clean inning, as did Luetge. They both allowed just one hit. However, they both faced the weakest batters in the Blue Jays’ lineup while King, Wojciechowski and Barraclough didn’t have it as easy.
Admittedly, there’s not much analysis to be had after the first game of spring training, but it’s important to keep tabs because every single one of these guys will either be competing for a roster spot or a significant role on the pitching staff over the next month.